Author: Cluttered Minds PM
An old man watches as a flame consumes everything in his sight, instead of fleeing he watches and remembers. The end of his ancient life is near and he is at peace. R & R please, I love good critique to help me improve.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Friendship/Tragedy - Words: 1,080 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 04-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3014278
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A story I wrote for Sophomore English class
The skies shown with a blood red as fire burned its way through the soul of the earth. Standing in the middle of it, all the shadowed gaze of a man watched over the deathly proceedings. The smallest hint of a smile was on his lips and he stood before the huge flames looking almost content.
He was old; his face pockmarked with a myriad of small scars and cross hatched wrinkles. His eyes covered with the whitish hue of cataracts and glistened with decades of grief and experience. His pupils were dilated, despite the bright glare from the yellow flames.
In his mind he did not see a forest fire quickly burning out of control. Instead He gazed up a more peaceful serene image.
Before him stood a small dark skinned girl, her brown locks long enough to brush her knees as be bent over to grasp a large yellow bellied toad in her small hands, picking the creature up she smiled at it gently. Whispering sweet nothings to it as it blinked owlishly at her before letting out one long ominous croak.
The girl froze, and ever so slowly turned to look at a young boy around her age.
Suddenly realizing that he had been spotted, the boys pale face grew red and he quickly ducked down trying to hide his face. Hoping she hadn't recognized him.
A sweet voice that reminded him of honey and berries rang out.
"Boy? I see you there boy."
"No you can't!" He called back immaturly, trying to flatten himself out among the dead leaves, his body breaking the delicate stems of nett-
Wait. Nettles. Stinging nettles.
The girl chuckled and covered her mouth as she heard a loud yowl come from the boy, and watched as he jumped up and ran to the small creak and began to vigorously scrub at his hands and bare feet; trying in vain to remove the irritating poison. His delicate skin had already begun to burn an angry red as mosquito bite like bumps began to form.
Setting the toad aside she sauntered over.
"Let me see." She said bending over.
"N-no, I'm fine!" The boy replied, attempting to hide his blistering arms from her view.
Rolling her eyes the girl knelt down and grabbed his soft skinned hands.
Hers, the boy noticed, were rough and calloused, despite their delicate appearance.
Still trying to pull away but unable to in her strong grip the boy looked down,
"Is it… bad?" He asked as tears began to brim his eyes. Not that he would let her see, he was a man. And men didn't cry.
"Tsk." She started. "Well I would say you might need your hands removed…"
Gasping the boy looked up, revealing the blush of embarrassment and teary eyes to her.
"W-what? Oh no they can't be-" He stopped at the sound of her rippling laughter and ripped his hand away.
"Ha ha! I can't believe you actually fell for that!"
"Yeah well you're stupid!" He said, crossing his arms and turning away his face burning even more.
Wiping a tear away from the corner of her eye the girl looked at him.
"I'm sorry," She giggled "I didn't think you would- wait… are you pouting?" She snickered.
The boy refused to acknowledge her, and at this the girl laughed once more.
It was infectious, the sound of that ringing lilting voice cackling happily. The boy began to chuckle along with her and soon they were both clutching their sides and gasping for air.
Sighing the girl finally said,
"My name's Mira,"
"Adam." They started to shake hands when he remembered the nettle stings. Wincing slightly and holding up his hands he asked,
"Do you have anything for these?"
"Yeah, hang on." She replied, and stood, walking over to where the toad sat just where she had left it. Adam was surprised it hadn't hopped away and even more surprised when Mira pulled a bag out of what seemed like the ground itself. She stuck her tongue out as she rummaged through the cloth sack, making an Ah ha, sound when she found what she was looking for.
Skipping, back over she said,
"Here," She tossed him a small glass container.
"What's in it?" He asked, catching it easily.
"Basil leaf extract." Furrowing his brow slightly at that, he opened the capsule and was his with what smelled like an entire field of basil.
"Smear that on the stings, and it should help with the pain." She told him, doing just that Adam sighed in relief as the stinging turned into light burning sensation rather than the flames it had been moments earlier.
She smirked at him, and Adam stood, handing back the basil extract with a thank you. Mira nodded, causing her dark hair to bob with the movement.
They stood there for a while, both silent. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence though; more of that of two good friends just enjoying each other's company, though they had only met that day.
"I should go…" She said suddenly.
"I probably should too, I guess. It's getting dark." He smiled sheepishly,
"Will I see you here again?" She nodded and smiled back before turning and walking towards the dark woods.
As he watched her leave, the forest was once more consumed by fire and smoke.
The old man coughed once, his eyes watering and throat burning from the smoke. A loud whistle was heard and then a crack; as a tree exploded, throwing him to ground. A part of the shattered trunk fell pining his right calf. He gasped, feeling the muscle rip and bones shatter, as the impact caused a broken branch to drive itself through his leg.
Tears fell, intermingling with sweat and blood as he pushed himself up off the ground slightly. Turning to gaze at the sky, most of the starry world above him was covered with smoke; but then a sudden gust of wind blew through. Throwing embers and pushing the smoke away, just for a moment, to reveal the brilliant moon lit sky and heavenly bodies above him.
He didn't feel the pain anymore. His heart was light with the glow of acceptance and as smile graced his face. Closing his eyes he exhaled one last time, and the fire consumed him.